Facebook Forces Mobile Users To Download Its Intrusive Messenger App

As some of you may already know, this morning, I decided to boycott Facebook - or at least my personal account - for an entire week as my way of protesting the company's utter and shameless disregard for its users' right not to download their questionable Messenger app.

Boycott Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg, we are NOT laboratory mice!

All I'm asking for is for us to be given a choice. A choice not to download the said app, which has been described as "insidious", "intrusive", and "not secure" by various tech blogs and news agencies.

Facebook Messenger App
Facebook Dictatorship: No way to check your messages using the mobile app unless you download the Messenger. Download the app or go.

So why am I so against us being forced to install this application on our smartphones and mobile devices? TP Friends, not only does this Messenger app require more memory, bandwidth, and battery life but it could very well pose a serious threat to our privacy and personal security.

As so brilliantly explained by Sam Fiorella on his Huffington Post column,

If you're one of those 1,000,000,000 people who have downloaded this app, take a moment to read the following. I've posted, word for word, a few of the most aggressive app permission you've accepted.
  • Allows the app to change the state of network connectivity
  • Allows the app to call phone numbers without your intervention. This may result in unexpected charges or calls. Malicious apps may cost you money by making calls without your confirmation.
  • Allows the app to send SMS messages. This may result in unexpected charges. Malicious apps may cost you money by sending messages without your confirmation.
  • Allows the app to record audio with microphone. This permission allows the app to record audio at any time without your confirmation.
  • Allows the app to take pictures and videos with the camera. This permission allows the app to use the camera at any time without your confirmation.
  • Allows the app to read you phone's call log, including data about incoming and outgoing calls. This permission allows apps to save your call log data, and malicious apps may share call log data without your knowledge.
  • Allows the app to read data about your contacts stored on your phone, including the frequency with which you've called, emailed, or communicated in other ways with specific individuals.
  • Allows the app to read personal profile information stored on your device, such as your name and contact information. This means the app can identify you and may send your profile information to others.
  • Allows the app to access the phone features of the device. This permission allows the app to determine the phone number and device IDs, whether a call is active, and the remote number connected by a call.
  • Allows the app to get a list of accounts known by the phone. This may include any accounts created by applications you have installed.
The fact that social media and mobile apps are so insidious is nothing new, we all know (or should know) that no app is truly free. "Free" online apps are paid for by the provision of personal data such as name, location, browsing history, etc. In turn, mobile developers and social networks charge advertisers to serve up highly targeted ads to specific groups of people.

In a way, it pays to offer some personal information for a better experience with online ads, which we all hate so much. However, Facebook Messenger's attempt to collect so much information and take control of our devices is unprecedented and, quite frankly, frightening. The fact that over a 1,000,000,000 people have accepted these terms is an alarming insight into the future of mobile apps and personal security.

To wrap this up, let me share with you what my friend Frank Schuengel told me when I said that Facebook is treating us like laboratory mice and that the company doesn't care about its loyal supporters and users. He said, "Mark, of course, they don't care about you. [...] They only care about shareholders and $$$, nothing else. You and your data are an asset on a spreadsheet, nothing more." With the way things are going, I have to agree with him. I'm all for growth but not at the expense of people's human rights and basic freedoms. Shame on you, Facebook!

Of course, deleting my account would be the easy and lazy choice. Like how some people would just quit their jobs because they don't think they can move up or leave their countries because they don't like the leadership. I'm a proud Facebook user and I intend to keep my account - heck, almost all of my relatives and friends are there - but I know that someone has to stand up for the rights of all users. Someone has to tell Facebook that what they're doing is not right; That's the reason why I'm doing this.